Steve Winwood - Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, UK
Amplifier Magazine, 2007-04-25
The warm atmosphere and the billing of this three-hour show as “An Evening With Steve Winwood” revealed Steve as a man comfortable with all stages of his career. In no particular order, we were treated to Spencer Davis hits (a throwaway “Somebody Help Me” and a monstrous “Gimme Some Loving”), Traffic classics from early (“Medicated Goo”) to later (“Light Up Or Leave Me Alone”) via Blind Faith (“Can’t Find My Way Home”). Landing at the Winwood solo years, his most commercially successful period (“Higher Love” etc.) now sounds his artistically weakest, while the latest album shows an artist at the peak of his powers (his cover of Timmy Thomas’ “Why Can’t We Live Together” being an unexpected highlight of a set with many highs).
The evergreen Winwood can afford to surround himself with the cream of sessioners, and by any standards, saxophonist Paul Booth and stand-in guitarist Tim Cansfield are sensationally funky. From the very first note, the silken Hammond, the glorious work on the bass pedals and that voice - seemingly unchanged since he was sixteen - caused the audience to pinch itself at being so close to a legend. Dear Mr Fantasy indeed.